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Georgetown University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education in the United States. Located in Washington's historic Georgetown neighborhood, the university's main campus is noted for Healy Hall, a National Historic Landmark. Georgetown's law school is located on Capitol Hill, and the university has auxiliary campuses in Italy, Turkey, and Qatar.
Georgetown's founding by John Carroll, America's first Catholic bishop, realized efforts dating from the settlement of the province of Maryland in 1634 to establish a local Roman Catholic college in the face of religious persecution. The university expanded after the American Civil War under the leadership of Patrick Francis Healy, who came to be known as Georgetown's "second founder" despite having been born a slave by law. Jesuits have participated in the university's administration since 1805, a heritage Georgetown celebrates, but the university has always been governed independently of the Society of Jesus and of church authorities.
Comprising 9 undergraduate and graduate schools, the university has about 7,000 undergraduate and over 10,000 post-graduate students from a wide variety of religious, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds, including 130 foreign countries. The university's most notable alumni are prominent in public life in the United States and abroad. Among them are former U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, dozens of U.S. governors and members of Congress, heads of state or government of more than a dozen countries, royalty and diplomats.
Campus organizations include the country's largest student-run business and largest student-run financial institution. Georgetown's athletic teams, nicknamed the Hoyas, include a men's basketball team that has won a record-tying seven Big East championships, appeared in five Final Fours, and won a national championship in 1984.
Jesuit settlers from England founded the Province of Maryland in 1634. However, the 1646 defeat of the Royalists in the English Civil War led to stringent laws against Roman Catholic education and the extradition of known Jesuits from the colony, including Andrew White, and the destruction of their school at Calverton Manor. During most of the remainder of Maryland's colonial period, Jesuits conducted Catholic schools clandestinely. It was not until after the end of the American Revolution that plans to establish a permanent Catholic institution for education in the United States were realized.
John Carroll published his proposals for a school at Georgetown in 1787, after the American Revolution allowed for the free practice of religion.
Because of Benjamin Franklin's recommendation, Pope Pius VI appointed former Jesuit John Carroll as the first head of the Roman Catholic Church in America, even though the papal suppression of the Jesuit order was still in effect. Carroll began meetings of local clergy in 1783 near Annapolis, Maryland, where they orchestrated the development of a new university. On January 23, 1789, Carroll finalized the purchase of the property on which Dahlgren Quadrangle was later built. Future Congressman William Gaston was enrolled as the school's first student on November 22, 1791, and instruction began on January 2, 1792.
During its early years, Georgetown College suffered from considerable financial strain, relying on private sources of funding and the limited profits from local lands owned by ex-Jesuits. The Maryland Society of Jesus began its restoration in 1805, and Jesuit affiliation, in the form of teachers and administrators, bolstered confidence in the college. The United States Congress issued Georgetown the first federal university charter in 1815, which allowed it to confer degrees, and the first bachelor's degrees were awarded two years later. In 1844, the school received a corporate charter, under the name "The President and Directors of Georgetown College", affording the growing school additional legal rights. In response to the demand for a local option for Roman Catholic students, the Medical School was founded in 1851.
The Georgetown undergraduate student body, at 7,636 as of 2014, is composed primarily of students from outside the District of Columbia area, with 34% of new 2010 students coming from Mid-Atlantic states, 11% being international students and the remainder coming from other areas of the US. The student body also represented 129 different countries, with 11% being international, including over 330 undergraduate and 1,050 graduate students who chose to come to Georgetown as a study abroad destination in 2009–10. In 2014–2015, the racial diversity of the undergraduate student body was 57.0% white, 8.8% Asian, 6.2% black, and 7.5% Hispanic; Additionally, 55.1% of undergraduates are female.
Although it is a Jesuit university, only 41% of the student body identify as Roman Catholic, while 22% identify as Protestant as of 2009. Georgetown employs a full-time rabbi, as 6.5% of undergraduates are Jewish. It was the first U.S. college to have a full-time imam, to serve the over four-hundred Muslims on campus, and in 2014, they appointed their first Hindu priest to serve a weekly community of around one hundred. Georgetown also sponsors student groups for Bahá'i, Buddhist, and Mormon traditions. The student body consists of both religious and non-religious students, and more than four-hundred freshmen and transfer students attend a nonreligious Ignatian retreat annually, called ESCAPE.
A 2007 survey of undergraduates also suggests that 62.8% are sexually active, while 6.2% identify as LGBTQ. Discrimination can be an issue on campus, and three-fourths of a 2009 survey considered homophobia a campus problem. Newsweek, however, rated Georgetown among its top "Gay-Friendly Schools" in 2010. In 2011, College Magazine ranked Georgetown as the tenth most hipster U.S. college, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals considered it the third most vegan friendly small U.S. school.
Almost all undergraduates attend full-time. A majority of undergraduates, 76%, live on-campus in several dormitories and apartment complexes, including all underclassmen.[As of 2011, 1255 undergraduates and 339 graduate students live off-campus, mostly in the Georgetown, Glover Park, Burleith, and Foxhall neighborhoods. Although many of the University's hall directors and area coordinators attend graduate level courses, on-campus housing is not available for main campus graduate students. The school hopes to build such housing by 2020. All students in the Medical School live off-campus, most in the surrounding neighborhoods, with some in Northern Virginia and elsewhere through the region.